|Posted by Bergen Blade on August 3, 2016 at 3:40 PM|
Another season is about to start, and the Blades will make another attempt at getting promotion from League One. It's been a pretty busy summer at the Lane and Bolton away is our first away game. How will Wilder compose his team?
I think he may go with the line up that started in the last major pre season game vs Derby, which was this:
This means we'll line up with 4-2-3-1.
In goal George Long will start. Having let go of Howard, Long is now backed up by teenager Aaron Ramsdale, but if Long doesn't start well, we should expect a more experienced option to come in before the window closes.
Wilder will encourage the full backs to go forward and be our main providers of width. We're hoping John Brayford will rediscover the form he showed when he first joined us on loan. A full pre season should hopefully help. Chris Hussey will be our left back, having arrived from Bury. He's well known for his excellent crossing and quality set pieces.
At centre half we have another two new arrivals. Jack O'Connell has arrived from Brentford and James Wilson from Oldham. Both are mobile centre halves, something Wilder thinks will help us play a high pressing game. O'Connell never got a real chance at Brentford, while Wilson hasn't been able to realise his potential at Oldham. They should both be hungry and eager to do well, but they haven't had a long time to work on their partnership.
In central midfield new signing John Fleck will be our new playmaker. He's a small, but strong player with good passing ability. Alongside him, Chris Basham is likely to start and he'll work hard up and down the pitch, getting tackles in. Basham lacks creativity, and Wilder is looking for someone to provide more competition in this position, but Basham is currently the first choice alongside Fleck.
The three players behind the main striker (surely Sharp) are likely to contain Matt Done and Mark Duffy in wide roles, although they won't play as old fashioned wingers. Done is especially expected to get into the box and get on the end of things. Duffy is a clever, creative and skilful player and will try to set up chances for the other teammates. In the central attacking role Marc McNulty looks like starting. He's done quite well in this role in pre season, and it's good for him that he's not just a back up for Sharp as a striker. He's got decent all round qualities and is another goal threat.
Other options for the no 10 role is Stefan Scougall, Che Adams and Leon Clarke, but McNulty started vs Derby and didn't do badly. Scougall is back in the mix after being completely frozen out by Adkins. Although he's done well in pre season, I think he'll start on the bench. Che Adams has attracted a lot of interest this season, but as I write he remains a Blade and should also be on the bench vs Bolton.
Billy Sharp is newly appointed captain and it would be a shock if he wasn't to start up front.
* Will Leon Clarke start, and if so, in which position?
Leon Clarke is a new signing and Wilder may be tempted to include him. In that case he has to decide whether to play him in the withdrawn role behind Sharp, or switch to 4-4-2 and play Clarke and Sharp up front together.
Personally I feel the balance of the team looks better and more exciting in a 4-2-3-1. Wilder tried Clarke and Sharp together for 10-15 minutes against Derby, but had to change it again as we started being overrun. A formation switch will affect the roles of the likes of Done and Duffy and may reduce their attacking impact.
Anyway, we look far better equipped for a decent sesaon than what we did a year ago. I think we will create more chances, entertain more and score more goals, and Wilder will not put up with non performing individuals or tactics that's not working in the way that Adkins did.